Zahid denies he didn’t aid the poor

KUALA LUMPUR: Former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the High Court that Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) spent some RM109mil on charity, refuting claims by the prosecution that the foundation did not fork out a single sen for the poor.

The Bagan Datuk MP said it was “a partial” sum of what was actually given out because some contributions were not listed.

“This is based on my principle of ‘tangan kanan memberi, tangan kiri tak perlu tahu’ (do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing).

“I hereby state that the (prosecution’s) statement claiming not a single sen was given by YAB to the poor is untrue,” he said here yesterday.

Ahmad Zahid said this when he was asked by his lawyer Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal to “make a rebuttal” on the prosecution’s claim that Ahmad Zahid had never spent a single sen for charity.

He referred Ahmad Zahid to two exhibits – tagged as D5 and D6 – that listed YAB charity works amounting to RM55mil and RM54mil, respectively.

The charity works included contributions for upgrades for surau, mosques and a bridge; construction of an orphanage in Rawang; supplying air-conditioners and carpets for surau and mosques; monetary aid for excellent school students; tickets, hotel and food expenses for the police, security personnel and volunteers during the MH17 disaster; and the construction of mosques in Yunnan (China), Capetown (South Africa), Perth (Australia) and Narathiwat and Pattani (Thailand).

In an opening statement on Nov 18, 2019, deputy public prosecutor Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran had said that the prosecution would prove Ahmad Zahid did not use a single sen from RM31mil of YAB’s funds to help the poor and the needy, but had instead used the money on himself, including paying off credit cards.

In yesterday’s proceedings, Ahmad Zahid said he wanted justice for himself because the contributions he made were with good intentions and in the name of Allah.

The court also heard that YAB appointed Idris Kechek as company secretary on March 18, 1997, and he resigned on July 23, 2007.

Ahmad Zahid said for as long as Idris worked for him, he (Idris) had never updated or sent YAB’s accounting report to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).

He said he only found out about this in 2012 after a change in the board of trustees.

As a result, Idris was replaced with one Mahinder Kaur as the company secretary in the same year.

“However, only in court did I find out she had prepared the company documents, but did not send it to SSM,” he added.

Ahmad Zahid is facing 47 charges – 12 for criminal breach of trust (CBT), eight for corruption and 27 for money laundering – involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to YAB.

The hearing continues before Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah on May 23.

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